Monday, June 12, 2006

Hippy Thoughts

Had an interesting conversation with an interesting person yesterday about the joys of living in UK. She did mention that she likes the 'conversations' she had with people. About books, music, travel, politics, world affairs etc etc. We noticed that the people in this part of the world are for some reason more talkative and open to discussion than others back home.
This might have to do with the fact that a lot of them are curious and keen to know about the world around them. A lot of them are friendly and maybe the British politeness means that even if they are opinionated, they shall be open to a conversation about things they dont believe in. The fact that just about everyone in this country is a travel maniac and most people have travelled a lot does change things a bit. To plan a vacation every summer and winter to a place you have never seen seems to be a great way of changing your mental makeup.
I did point out to my friend that some time ago I had spoken to someone who mentioned that Indians are the rudest and most unfriendly people around. Broad as that generalisation maybe, it does contains a grain of truth. As i walk to work each morning, I see the same people, sometimes they say hello, sometimes they smile, sometimes they say good morning, and if we are picking an early morning cup of coffee, there is always a ave a nice day at the end of a quick chat.
People are just friendly here and they talk a lot. I have spoken to many random people in random places, mum of 3 travelling to Edinburgh who had thinning hair and talked about the cause of it being her three kids, mum with a pushchair on the London underground who was making her weekly trip to take the kids to the grandma, man who was walking a cute dog for his friends who were in Turkey on holiday, girls on the bus who shared some crisps with me, man with a hat glued on his head who was an old brigadier in the British Army. They all talk..whis is nice.
Try smiling at a stranger in a bus or a train in India and they shall stare at you. Try starting a conversation with a busy commuter in Bombay and see what happens. I do wonder why, a country with such warm people have such an unfriendly shut attitute to life? Why do we take ourselves so seriously...or am I being a hippy child and thinking the world is a sweet nice place and we should all be friends?


Anonymous said...

Well ettiquetes in different countries vary. I think the smile factor is not necessarily an indicator of the friendliness of a society in general. True that in UK (and in the US where I live) people usually smile at strangers which is a feel good factor, yet often I've noticed that the smile is just for the sake of it. I mean its not a smile that lasts, its mechanical and disappears as soon as you notice it. At those times I feel, "well you don't have to take the trouble to smile if you don't feel it from the heart". Of course these are not generalizations for a whole society. I also noticed that people are not willing to come forth and help you by themselves, infact sometimes they are not willing to help even if you ask. I noticed that twice in Heathrow. And once on the very second day of my arrival to the US when I felt ill. I asked my neighbors for help but got a cold response "call 911" and a slammed door. In India this would not have happened, well maybe in certain parts of Delhi yes...but in Kolkata or Mumbai, people would have helped.
I think there is a difference between politeness as part of ettiquete and politeness out of genuineity of the heart.

mar00ned said...

This is something on similar lines ... dont forget to read the comments.